Much is said about a writer's voice. Editors claim to be looking for a fresh voice, one that makes them smile and nod while reading a submission. But what is "voice"?
Voice is the literary term used to describe the individual writing style of an author. It is typically a combination of a writer's use of syntax, diction, punctuation, character development, dialog and pacing within a piece of work. Voice can be the "tone" or "mood" or "style" within a piece that hints at the writer's personality.
Because each of us has a unique personality, each of us has a unique voice in his or her writing. The trick is letting that voice come through.
Put 20 writers in a room and instruct them to write 2000 words about a girl's first date and you will recieve 20 delightfully different stories. Some may concentrate on the girl's choice of the perfect outfit and her battle with a bad hair day--of all days, the day of her first date. Others may write a touching story of a girl's shyness blended with tender kindness by the boy. A few may write a date that is a comedy of errors. The end result of the exercise will be 20 different voices.
But how do we find our voice? To me, it's writing the way I think and talk. I am an emotional person who loves to laugh, cry and sigh. I abhor loud bragging people. I get angry when women or children are abused (my pet peeves). And I tend to look for hope in any situation. These elements are incorporated in what I write. This is my voice.
My kids will tell you I am a softie until pushed. Don't make Momma mad.
My heroines are feminine creatures with spines of steel. See any similarities?
I've raised my sons to embrace their alpha tendancies and that it's manly to do whatever needs done around the house. They cook, change diapers and clean toilets.
My heros are alpha males with soft spots for those whom they love. They will do anything for the lady in their hearts. Do you see a pattern?
All of these things become part of my voice.
I love slapstick comedy. I grew up with it. I love to write comedy scenes. I've written many plays for a theater group that are roll-on-the-floor funny. The more absurd, the better. This, too, is part of my voice.
My passion is reading romance. Is this passion in my voice? You bet'cha. Allow yourself the freedom to BE in your writing.
An editor once said if she knew an author's writing voice, she could pick that writer out in a roomful of authors. Think about that statement.
Write your story with your choice of wording, your choice of sentence structure, your passions, your dislikes, your loves. Write with your voice.